Looking for the best bedtime snacks for diabetes? If you’re worried about fasting blood sugars, a bedtime snack may help with that.
This blog post will cover what makes great bedtime snacks for diabetes, when to have one, and what foods to focus on for a great night’s sleep.
DISCLAIMER: This post was written by Justine Chan MHSc, RD, CDE. All content on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical or nutritional advice. Always seek medical and dietary advice from your doctor or dietitian.
First, let’s talk about how a bedtime snack can affect your blood sugars.
Table of Contents
How Will A Bedtime Snack Affect My Blood Sugars?
You’re probably wondering if it will affect your fasting blood sugar. After all, this is a very common challenging time of day to get your sugar down.
Why? Well, for one thing there’s the “dawn phenomenon”. This is when hormones that raise your blood sugar are released in the early hours of the morning.
Or your morning blood sugars could be high from a low blood sugar overnight. Or maybe you want to snack because you’re worried about having low blood sugars while sleeping.
Recently, it was found there is no benefit to improving fasting and overnight blood sugar with adding a bedtime snack if you’re not eating one already (1). If you are having a bedtime snack, one that’s low carb or contains resistant starch is better than one that’s higher in carbs (1).
If you have a smaller appetite, splitting your main evening meal into two smaller ones can help to improve your blood sugars (1). This is also a great for people with gastroparesis, which is nerve damage that results in food taking a longer time to digest and leave your stomach.
Higher protein or fat-based snacks seem to show an advantage over a carb-based snack. For example, 2 eggs improved fasting and overnight blood sugars compared to a yogurt snack. The impact of the protein snack on blood sugars was no different than having no snack (1).
In women with gestational diabetes, a bedtime snack is associated with higher blood sugars (2).
So to sum it all up, if you’re not snacking then you don’t need to snack. But if you are inclined to snack at bedtime, sticking to lower carb, higher protein foods is ideal.
To Bedtime Snack Or Not
First, ask yourself are you actually hungry or are your snacking habits out of emotion or habit?
Some things to consider:
- Timing of dinner – if it’s late, do you really need one?
- Is there at least 8 to 12 hours between your last bite of food at night and your fasting blood sugar reading?
- How well you ate through the day – was it adequate?
- How much you will eat – let’s face it, a lot of snacking can happen in front of the t.v. at night
Your own response to snacking at bedtime will be unique. Experiment with the timing, amounts and types of foods you like to eat. How does a bedtime snack affect your bedtime and fasting blood sugar compared to no snack?
The ideal bedtime snacks for diabetes are whole food based, 15 grams of carbohydrates or less, and a good source of protein and fiber.
So without further ado, let’s move on to the best bedtime snacks for diabetes. There are smaller snacks that consist of one food group and larger snacks if you’re feeling more hungry. All nutrition data is sourced from either the USDA Nutrient Database or food labels.
Feel free to mix and match foods. Chances are, it’ll still be considered a low carb snack!
Snacks With 0 to 6g Net Carbohydrates
A Spoon Of Peanut Butter
Serving size: 1 tbsp
A spoon of peanut butter could just be enough to keep you satisfied. Opt for the natural kind with no added sugar or salt. It contains healthy fats and is a great source of B vitamins, vitamin E and magnesium.
Non-Fat Plain Skyr
Serving size: 3/4 cup
Compared to other yogurts, skyr has the most protein per serving. It’s slightly thicker than greek yogurt and is a great source of B12, a vitamin deficiency that’s more common if you take metformin.
Serving size: 1 large
Eggs are one of the best bedtime snacks for diabetes, and may lower your fasting blood sugar (1). They’re easy to make ahead of time, and can last up to 5 days peeled or 7 days unpeeled. If you’re worried about cholesterol, eggs are not likely the culprit, especially if you’re already following a lower carb diet.
High Protein Milk
Serving size: 1 cup
High protein milk contains leucine which is great for muscle building and repair overnight. It’s also a source of tryptophan which can help promote good sleep.
Vegetables With Dip
Serving size: ½ to 1 cup (or as much as you desire) vegetables, 2 tbsp dip
Worldwide, we are not eating enough vegetables (3). Having veggies at bedtime as a snack can help you to ensure you’re eating enough plants. If you’re looking for a healthier dip, try mixing greek yogurt with ranch seasoning.
Serving size: 1 stick
Individually wrapped snacks are great for portion control. Plus, cheese is a good source of tryptophan, calcium and melatonin, all of which can help promote good night’s sleep.
Serving size: ¼ cup
Want to sleep better? Nuts are high in melatonin, which may help with insomnia (4). Moreover, nuts like almonds contain fiber and antioxidants, and can also help you lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and manage your weight.
Celery And Peanut Butter
Serving size: 1 stalk, 1 tbsp peanut butter
Ah, a good ol’ classic! It’s crunchy and easy to prepare. Celery is made up mostly of water, making it a great hydrating snack.
Cucumber Slices With Herbed Goat Cheese
Serving size: ½ to 1 cucumber, 2 tbsp goat cheese
Spread some herbed goat cheese on cucumber slices and you won’t be disappointed. This snack is so easy to make and one that will keep you well hydrated overnight.
Raspberries With A Dollop Of Whipped Cream
Serving size: ¾ cup
Compared to other fruit, raspberries have the most fiber, with 8 grams per cup. Full of anti-aging antioxidants, raspberries are low on the glycemic index so you don’t have to worry about them spiking your blood sugars.
Caprese Salad With Fresh Tomato Slices, Mozzarella Cheese, Basil, Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil
Serving size: ½ cup
Tomatoes contain lycopene among many other health benefits, which makes it great for your heart, eyes, and a powerful disease fighter. It’s an easy salad to put together and a dish that falls within the Mediterranean Diet, an eating pattern that’s can help to reduce heart disease and increase longevity.
Cottage Cheese With Scrambled Egg
Serving size: ¼ cup cottage cheese with 1 egg
Trust me, this is an amazing combo! Make a big batch of this for the week and you’ll be set to manage your hunger pangs anytime of the day, not just at bedtime. You can also use egg whites for a lower saturated fat option.
Serving size: ½ cup
Plant protein is one of the key components of the Portfolio diet, which can help to lower cholesterol by 5 to 10%. Edamame is easily found in the freezer section of your grocery store and takes minutes to boil.
Low Sodium Dill Pickle Spears
Serving: 2-3 spears
Craving something salty that’s virtually calorie and carb free? Try low sodium dill pickles spears and you won’t regret it. They are the perfect crunchy, juicy snack for bedtime.
Snacks With 7 to 15g Net Carbohydrates
Chia pudding (1/2 cup milk of choice + 2 tbsp chia seeds)
Serving size: ½ to 1 cup depending on thickness
You need chia seeds in your life. Why? Because they contain healthy omega 3 fats and over 10 grams of fiber in 2 tablespoons, it makes for a great bedtime snack choice.
Harvest Snap Peas
Serving size: 28g (1oz)
This crunchy snack is savory and comes in a variety of flavors. It’s a source of fiber and protein, both of which can help prevent blood sugar spikes.
Apple With Peanut Butter
Serving size: A small apple with 1tbsp peanut butter
Here is the perfect sweet and salty combo to help you sleep better at night. The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has some merit, especially if you’re struggling to get enough fruit in your diet.
Tuna With Triscuit Crackers
Serving size: 1/4 can of tuna mixed with 1 tbsp mayonnaise, 5 Triscuit crackers
If you’re looking to up your omega 3’s, this snack will do just that! Tuna is high in protein and essential fats, the kind your body doesn’t make. Also, Triscuits check all the boxes when it comes to the highest in fiber and taste.
Serving size: ¼ cup
18g carbohydrates, 5g fiber
If you’re not into beans, try them roasted! They come in yummy flavors and are a great source of both protein and fiber. Chickpeas are a great source of resistant starch, which has been shown to improve blood sugars in studies looking at bedtime snacks (1).
Small Corn Tortilla With Leftover Chicken
Serving size: 1 corn tortilla with 1-2oz chicken
Corn tortillas are low on the glycemic index with a score of 49, causing a more gradual rise in blood sugars. Add some leftover chicken and you’ve got yourself a high protein snack. If you want to make this carb free, replace the tortilla with a lettuce wrap.
Clementine With Almonds
Serving size: 1 clementine with ¼ cup almonds
This snack provides 30% of your daily requirement for vitamin C. This antioxidant rich snack is anti-inflammatory and can help to promote healthy aging.
Serving size: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, ¼ cup berries, lots of ice
A good dose of protein can help fuel muscle building and repair overnight. A shake is easy to assemble on the spot and can help you keep your muscle. After all, it’s been estimated that we lose muscle as much as 3 to 8% per decade after the age of 30 (5).
Bean Based Chips With Salsa
Serving size: 1oz or 11 chips, 2 tbsp salsa
Bean based chips typically have more than 2 times the fiber and protein than other tortilla chips. This combo is low on the glycemic index and can help to stabilize your blood sugars overnight.
Dark Chocolate With At Least 70% Cocoa
Serving size: 3 pieces or 1oz (28g)
Believe it or not, dark chocolate may help to lower cholesterol and blood sugars, thanks to its flavonols (6). Planning to include chocolate as a sweet in your meal plan can actually also reduce your cravings.
Serving size: 12 crackers
As you guessed it, these crackers are made from mostly cauliflower, nuts and seeds. Pair these crunchy delights with some dip for a mouth watering combo. They’re also vegan and gluten free!
Key takeaways: 25 Easy Bedtime Snacks For Diabetes For a Good Night’s Sleep
So there you have it. This post covered whether to have a bedtime snack, what is a healthy bedtime snack for diabetes, and 25 ideas for a bedtime snack you can walk away with. These can also serve as snack options for other times of the day too.
The above snacks contain no more than 15 grams of carbohydrates. There are also some low carb options so feel free to mix and match!
Based on the small amount of research found on bedtime snacks and diabetes, low carb, high protein based snacks seem to have the best impact on your blood sugars. These are the types of snacks that are more likely to keep you satisfied.
Want 25 fast food breakfast ideas for diabetes? You’ll want to read this post.
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